Do I really need a home inspection in this hot real estate market?

Like many other parts of the country, Montana real estate is flying off the shelves. As inspectors we chat with our local real estate professionals on a daily basis. Lately we hear mostly about how crazy this market is and how buyers are competing with other offers for every single home no matter the condition of the place.  And then there is the one single thing that they tell us that we, as home inspectors, HATE TO HEAR… in many cases buyers are foregoring the home inspection in an effort to enhance their offer to sellers. That’s right, in some cases the buyer has decided to move forward with their purchase of the home without having a home inspection performed in order to find out about the condition of the home. Yikes! That is not a good idea!  

So why are some home buyers choosing to forgo a home inspection?

Well I don’t know about what is happening in other parts of the country but up here in Flathead Valley, the Northwest region of Montana, here are some of the reasons we are hearing about this unorthodox plan for a home purchase.

Scenario 1:

The most common reason is that buyers are trying to find every advantage they can in order to compete with other offers. Some buyers reason that it serves no purpose because in order to compete with other offers coming in they cannot afford to make demands in the form of concessions [either asking for items to be remedied or in the form of monetary reductions in the sale price].

Scenario 2:

Another reason they are choosing to skip the inspection has more to do with timeline. Again due to the highly competitive nature of this “hot” real estate market, it is common for realtors to set expectations for a very short transaction timeline. This serves to help to “sweeten the deal” when a realtor comes in with an offer that includes a rapid closing timeline. And when that is the case, there may not be enough time included to reasonably get a home inspection scheduled and completed by that date. 

Whatever the reason, it’s not wise to skip a home inspection. Even if the buyer has no opportunity to use any deficiencies that were identified in the inspection as a way to negotiate credits or ask for them to be fixed as is common right now, the inspection can provide a great deal of insight about the condition of the home. 

In some cases an inspection may reveal some very unattractive deficiencies and thus a buyer may decide to walk away from the purchase because they know a seller will just move on to the next offer so that they don’t have to give away any credits or fix anything. So if you think about it in terms of “risk analysis”, the home inspection is a tool to help you to identify any humongous risks that you may be getting into by purchasing a home which may have some very major and costly expenses coming down the road. Wouldn’t you want to know for example if the home has some very major defects in the foundation or possibly the wall structure?

Another great reason to still plan on inspecting any possible home purchases even if the seller won’t negotiate any concessions is to find out more about the general condition of the home and to identify any items that you will either want to fix or that you may need to fix once you own the home. It can be something small like installing GFCI outlets in the bathrooms if they are not there. Or maybe the report identified some issues like missing anchor bolts on a deck ledger board. This is the board that attaches to the house where the deck is supported. Now would you want to stand on a suspended deck knowing that it is not properly constructed and supported? 

There is so much to learn about each and every home and that is what home inspectors do. Aside from inspecting the exterior and interior of the home, they walk the roofs, look in attics, and they crawl through the area under the home called the crawlspace. And any home inspector will tell you that “no home is perfect”. Every property has it’s kinks. So its good to find out what is going on in the home you are about to buy. That way you can make an informed decision and feel good about this major investment.